After taking over as new Mumbai Police Commissioner from Param Bir Singh, Hemant Nagrale on Wednesday admitted that police in the financial capital is undergoing “turmoil". He refused to comment on the ongoing investigation but promised to “glory and pride of Mumbai Police".
“At present, the Mumbai Police is undergoing turmoil due to some bad instances that have occurred. I won’t comment on the ongoing investigation. We will regain the glory and pride of Mumbai Police," he said at a press conference.
Nagrale’s appointment comes as the case of recovery of gelatin sticks near Ambani’s residence turned murkier with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claiming there were “other players" who had been allegedly instructing arrested policeman Sachin Waze. NIA sources said the case had virtually been cracked and soon the “entire conspiracy" behind would be unravelled.
The Maharashtra unit of the BJP, however, termed the transfer of Singh as the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s damage control move. The opposition party also alleged that the move shows that the case of security scare outside Ambani’s residence might have links with the state home department.
Maharashtra former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that Waze was a Shiv Sena member. “In 2008, Sachin Waze joined Shiv Sena, was their spokesperson and had business relations with them. Despite knowing about the 2017 extortion case against him, Shiv Sena-led government brought him back in 2020, on the pretext of officer shortage due to Covid," he added.
Nagrale, a 1987-batch IPS officer, has handled cases such as the Ketan Parekh scam and the Harshad Mehta scam. BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis claimed that when he was Maharashtra chief minister in 2018, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had called him to seek reinstatement of the then suspended police officer Sachin Waze in the police force.
An ‘encounter specialist’ of the 1990 batch of the state police cadre, Waze was suspended in 2004 over his role in the custodial death of a 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus and was reinstated last year. Waze, who led the team that arrested journalist Arnab Goswami in November last year in a suicide abetment case, had joined Shiv Sena while he was under suspension. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently said Waze was a member of Shiv Sena till 2008.